The board of Maori Television has withdrawn the series Jonah from Tonga from screening on the channel.
New Zealand’s Minister for Pacific Peoples, Alfred Ngaro, has said the series perpetuates negative stereotypes of Pacific people.
Jonah from Tonga is an Australian television series written by and starring comedian Chris Lilley. It follows a rebellious Australian boy of Tongan descent who had been introduced in Lilley’s 2007 series Summer Heights High.
Georgina te Heuheu, the chair of Maori Television, said once the full board of became aware of the screening of the programme on Thursday evening, a decision was made then to pull the series.
She says the values of Maori Television include respecting all communities.
“We are a Maori media outlet with our own standards, and a mandate to protect and promote the Maori language and culture,” says Mrs te Heuheu.
“This means that as a leading indigenous broadcaster we have a responsibility to present all cultures with a degree of respect and aroha not least those of our Pacific whanaunga,” Mrs te Heuheu said.
A replacement show Te Taumata Kapahaka will go to air next Thursday evening.